As a homeowner, you probably understand that your main dwelling is going to be covered by your homeowners insurance in the event of property damage. But do you know what else is covered of your personal property beyond that? A typical HO-3 policy, which is the standard homeowners policy and one of the most common types of home insurance, includes a list of personal property that will be covered along with your main dwelling. But be sure you also understand what’s not covered so you can be prepared.
The main dwelling is the first item listed as covered by an HO-3 policy. Along with that, any structures attached to that dwelling are also included. Any physical damage these structures sustain is covered under an HO-3 policy. If your added-on sunroom sustains hail damage, you’ll be able to cover that loss with an insurance claim, provided you’ve gone through the proper channels to expand your home.
Any unattached structures on your property will also be covered under an HO-3 policy, to a certain extent. Examples of such structures include a fence, shed or freestanding garage. If your unattached outbuilding sustains lightning damage due to a direct hit during a storm, you may be able to file a lightning damage insurance claim and receive coverage from your insurance company. There may be limitations to how much is covered in these cases, so be sure to contact your insurance company if you’re unsure of what you will be compensated for in your policy.
Personal property owned or used by the insured anywhere in the world is covered under an HO-3 policy. Items covered include, but are not limited to, furniture, electronics, watercraft, jewelry, firearms and clothing. However, any high-value items you own may have limited or no coverage under your insurance policy, so be sure to check with your insurer to make sure you have sufficient coverage. Creating an inventory of your belongings is also a good idea in order to receive proper compensation for your items in the event of a partial or total loss.
If there’s a structure on your property that you’re running a business from, your policy will likely not cover that building. This exclusion does not apply if the structure is only storing personal property that is used for business and is solely owned by the insured. If you’re running a business from your home, it may be advisable to add additional coverage for your business property and supplies.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover damage pets may cause to your home or property. If your dog chews through your couch or breaks your fence, homeowners insurance won’t cover the damages. But if your pet injures a guest at your home, a standard homeowners policy will help you with liability and medical payments.
Along the same lines, if your pet escapes and causes damage to someone else’s property, your policy should cover it. Damage to your home or property caused by a wild animal, however, may be covered under your policy.
Typical homeowners insurance policies exclude coverage for damage from an aircraft, but there may be exceptions when it comes to a radio-controlled aircraft or drone. Before using a drone on your property, you may consider contacting your insurance company to see if any damage sustained in the event of an accident will be covered.
Any personal property in an area of the residence used exclusively by a tenant or boarder will not be covered under a standard homeowners policy. If you’re planning on exclusively renting your property out, you’ll want to consider getting landlord insurance. However, if you plan to rent your property out to tenants only occasionally, you may want to stick with homeowners insurance. If you’re renting your home out on an ongoing basis, encouraging your tenants to get renters insurance is the best way for them to protect their belongings.
Since the structure of a condo is connected to multiple units with multiple owners, the physical structure of shared areas such as the hallway and roof will be covered under the condo association’s insurance. In some instances, the condo association’s insurance policy will extend to the structure of your own unit, including the floors and walls. That policy, however, does not extend to the personal items inside each unit. If you’re a condo owner, a typical condo policy will protect your belongings against risks such as theft, vandalism or fire.
If you’re considering becoming a condo owner, it’s advisable to read the condo association’s bylaws in order to be informed on what is covered in the master policy and what you’ll be responsible for insuring on your own.
This article is the second in a series on homeowners insurance policies. Continue to follow K-Factor’s blog page for additional content.
K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public insurance adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.